Thursday, March 13, 2014

New York City

A couple of weeks ago Kelly and I took a Friday off work and had a little long-weekend trip to New York.  We had a ton of fun, and I guess it was something of a babymoon, since it was probably our last overnight trip before our Baby T is born.  (I guess it's fair we get a babymoon since we never had a honeymoon...unless you count moving across the country two days after getting married as a honeymoon.  Our car did say "Just Married" on the back window, so maybe it counted?)

We only live a couple hours away from NY, so driving was no big deal, and since we had so much fun on our Philadelphia trip a few years ago just ditching the car at the beginning and hoofing it all weekend we just did that again.  It was even easier in NYC with a metrocard, though.  On Friday February 21st we left in the morning and drove to Newark, NJ and left the car in a parking garage.  It's much cheaper to park in NJ than NY.  It's also easier to drive in NJ than NY ha ha.  Then we took the train from Newark Penn Station to NY Penn Station.  Normally we go to the WTC, but it was still closed because of falling ice from that super cold snap the east coast had in February.  It worked out well, though, because we were planning to do the touristy Liberty Island and Ellis Island ferry that day, but on the drive up decided to go to the Met that day instead.  So we got some lunch and ate on a (wet) bench in Central Park and watched kids play in the snow, and then spent the rest of the day at the Met.  I have been there a few times now, but Kelly has never been.  I had been telling him to choose what he really wanted to see and we'd do that first because it is so huge you'd have to live inside the Met for a few months (à la From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) to see everything.  I don't think he believed me until we got there.  I guess it is maybe something you have to see to believe.  We ended up starting with one of the temporary exhibits on Fabergé eggs, then hit the Arms and Armor, made our way to 19th Century European Art, meandered through the Medieval Art, and ended up in the Egyptian Exhibit.  We also forked over $8 for two root beers in the American Wing Cafe because all that walking-around-looking-at-stuff had me and Baby T thirsty and wanting to sit down for a bit.  And Kelly wanted one too because he's a soda addict.  If you go, I would suggest sticking with the drinking fountains if at all possible.  We also purchased a Met magnet to add to our souvenir collection on the refrigerator.

Kelly and some flashy armor

Me and Baby T having a chubby party with Henry VIII's armor from his fat phase.  At least he probably bought a coat that could button over his belly.

Degas (one of his paintings from his mild ballet days, as opposed to his many weirdly-posed-naked-female paintings)

Renoir

Painting by Picasso... bet you didn't guess that!

One of Van Gogh's self portraits

Kelly doing his best Egyptian impression.  Not.


That evening we took the train back to Newark, picked up the car and checked into our hotel, located within walking distance from Newark Penn Station.  We were able to leave our car in the hotel parking lot for free for the rest of the trip.  That was part of the reason we decided to get a hotel in NJ instead of in Manhattan.  Most hotels in NYC make you pay an additional daily rate for parking, which can add up fast.

The next morning we took the train back to NY and got breakfast at a doughnut place in the Lower East Side called Doughnut Plant because Kelly is a foodie and looked up a few places he wanted to eat at, and apparently this was his top pick.  I must admit the crème brûlée doughnut I had was worth the subway fare and the 5 block walk.  After breakfast we jumped back on the subway and took it down to Battery Park and got tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
On the ferry

This was another thing I had done a couple of times already, but Kelly hadn't.  It was really fun just wandering around Liberty Island with Kelly, and we eventually got an Argentinian guy to take a picture of us after we took one for him.  I didn't understand anything, since he and Kelly chatted in Spanish, until he handed me his very nice camera and posed.  I only forgot one thing on this trip:  my camera charger (for my awesome camera I got for Christmas! Fail!), so he had to take our picture with Kelly's phone.  It turned out pretty good for a phone pic, though.

We went for a less-crowded side-view, rather than jostling for a photo op from the front because we're chill like that

Though I did manage to grab a quick picture from the front when we were walking around that way.

Then we went to Ellis Island, but didn't stay very long because all the exhibits were closed because of Superstorm Sandy last year.  That was something I should have looked into beforehand, but didn't even think about.  It's a beautiful building, architecturally, though, so still worth the trip.  Plus we got another magnet for our collection.

Crappy phone pic of inside the building on Ellis Island
Hey! I can see New York from here!

Me and Kelly chillin' on Ellis Island

I snapped this while we were waiting to get back on the ferry

After catching the ferry back to Battery Park we headed to Little Italy for lunch.  We were planning to try a different restaurant than our old tradition, da Nico's, but Baby T was grumpy, hungry, and tired (okay, I was, but it's nice to blame him since it was my big ol' belly causing most of the orneriness) so I was fed up with looking at menus on the street and we ended up just going to da Nico's anyway.  I have to admit, I was disappointed.  If we go back for a meal in Little Italy, it won't be at our old standby.  I hate to say it, but I've had tastier food at Olive Garden, and I'm not a fan of Olive Garden at all.  I guess having our own Little Italy in Baltimore has made it less impressive elsewhere?  I don't know.  Disappointment notwithstanding, I had food in my tum and got to rest my feet and baby belly for a bit, so I was good.

We had time to kill, so we wandered around 5th Avenue, and went to the New York Public Library, and of course found some books to buy.  We kept it to a minimum, though, since we knew we had to carry them around for the rest of the day.  Kelly also took us to a comic book store in Times Square he had to see.  It was huge and pretty fantastic.  (Albeit in a why-can't-there-be-ANY-chairs-here!? kind of way for me.)  Times Square on a Saturday night was a mistake I should have seen coming, though.  It's the crowded, insane part of NYC the locals avoid, and that people from elsewhere probably think all of New York is like until they actually visit.  Actually walking around Manhattan, especially in the tourist off-season like February, is great and not crazy-busy.  But Times Square is.  However, we were going there anyway, because we had tickets to a Broadway show that night.  So after Kelly's nerd-dream-come-true we went a few blocks over from Times Square where it was calmer and grabbed some shakes at McDonald's to hold us over, since we were both still pretty full from our late lunch, and then dove back through Times Square to get to the Shubert Theater were we saw Matilda.  It was so amazing!  I loved the music, the sets, and the actors.  It was creative, and funny, and different, and wonderful.  I think it was really in keeping with Roald Dahl's book.  A child cast actually did a large part of the show, and those kids were incredible!  Sometimes teaching teenagers in Baltimore makes me forget that children can be well-behaved, and disciplined enough to freaking act on Broadway.  We had a great time, and I think Matilda was the highlight of the trip for me, only a tiny step below my all-time favorite Broadway experience of Thoroughly Modern Millie which would be completely impossible to ever be beaten.

I kind of quit taking pictures by this point.  Here's a quick picture snapped in Times Square before Matilda.  Of course with the phone.  Curse my forgetfulness!

After the show we caught a late train back to NJ and slept like rocks at our hotel.  My baby-carrying stomach muscles were screaming at me a little, and my feet and calves perhaps a little more (especially in the middle of the night when I inevitably got those stupid charlie horses), but we had so much fun!  The next morning we drove home and then relaxed the rest of Sunday so we could be ready for the week of work ahead (spoiler alert:  we weren't, of course, because even when we veg on the couch all weekend we never are quite ready for another week of work, but made it through anyway.)  Overall, we had a really fun trip, and we were glad we kept it pretty relaxed.  Since we had both already been to Rockerfeller Square, Wall Street, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity Church, and a bunch of other places, we were able limit it to the couple of things we really wanted to do and not feel like we needed to squeeze everything quintessentially Manhattan-y into our little weekend jaunt.

Four new magnets for our collection: The Met, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Matilda
 
I think I want at least one more weekend trip before the baby comes...but perhaps somewhere that would require a little less walking...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's a...




...new O's fan!


Also, it's a boy!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Random Updates: Christmas, an Embarrasing Moment at an Aquarium, and Some Thoughts on Pregnancy


It's been awhile.  It seems like I always need to say something like that in the few-and-far-between posts on this blog.  Our lives aren't that fascinating, though, so I guess it makes sense.  Maybe all that will change when Baby T joins us in June and everyone will be sick of us.  Anyway, I thought I'd just record some random things we've been up to and thinking about since mid-December since I'm really bad at keeping a journal now.

First is Christmas.  We decorated our apartment and had our own little Christmas morning a week early so Kel and I could exchange presents and give the cat a new bed and a catnip mouse (which she alternates between mauling and taking care of it like it's her kitten).  The coolest thing I got was a new camera for all the upcoming baby pictures I hope to be awesome at taking.  I think Kelly would say his best present from me were binoculars for birding and such.  He also got a 3DS I bought on the cheap from one of his friends, and he's been enjoying that more than he would probably care to admit.  Now, for memory's sake, some pictures of our little Christmas:

Our tree, that we decided was called Sam as we were throwing it away (technically, Kelly was acting like Libby was saying bye to the tree because she LOVED it, and he said "Bye Sam!" in his Libby voice, so it stuck.  For the last few moments of its life.)

We finally bought a nativity this year.  Who knew ebay was the place for it?  Don't mind the generous gap between our bookshelves, the floor is uneven, but they're anchored to the the wall so it's all good.

Our stockings and little Christmas Angel bell thingy.  I'm sure it has a real name, but I sure don't know it.
That's right.  I made Kelly some Star Wars snowflakes.  I got my x-acto on and rocked at it!  This is R2D2 in case you can't tell.
And Boba Fett.  And no, I am not this super awesome on my own.  I got the templates from here.

Our "Christmas" morning mess

Libby enjoying her present.  I promise it's actually big enough for her, she just sucks at getting in there all the way.

We went home for real Christmas.  I told about three people I would let them know if we were headed home for the break and we would do something, and I'm the worst person ever and didn't even call them.  Sorry to the few friends I have left.  I really do love you guys.  I'm just a very lazy person.  I was so tired from growing a human inside me and dealing with the last vestiges of morning sickness I just hung out with my family, and then I got sick at the end of our trip and only ended up seeing Kelly's family ONCE!  How terrible is that?  Hopefully we move back soon (this summer, maybe?) and I can right that wrong, and hopefully my old friends will re-friend me despite my lazy ways.  It was really nice to be with family, though.  I got to meet my new nephew, who goes by Tiger on the web.  There's a picture on Facebook you can see if you're friends with me.  I don't want to break my sister-in-law's trust and post it on a public blog, since she's really really careful and smart about internet safety.  He's super adorable and I just wanted to cuddle him, but usually he wanted to stand up on his cutie little legs when I was holding him, which was cool too.  Kel and I were feeling a little jealous, realizing we could have had a 7 month old if we hadn't miscarried last year.  It wasn't bad, though, since I am pregnant so at least we know that it's coming.  It was really fun and sweet seeing my brother and sister-in-law as parents, too.  We also got to spend more time with my sister Cami and her new husband Robbie, which was really fun, especially since we hadn't had the opportunity to get to know Robbie very well before that.  One of the many problems of living thousands of miles away!  They are a really awesome couple and we love how Robbie hands Cami's sass right back to her, and we had a lot of fun with them both.  My younger brother Bryan also took a lot of his Christmas break to spend time with us, and as always he is one of the funnest (I know it's not a word) people I know.  Other than that, I mostly probably bothered my parents by always following them around, but I really enjoyed just being with them and talking to them.  We spent Christmas morning at Kelly's parents' house and had a really nice time chatting with his parents and brothers and sisters-in-law, and seeing our cute nephews on that side.  We gave Liam a Buzz Lightyear shirt and wings and it was really fun watching him run around and jump off the couch with them.  I'm excited our baby will have such awesome grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides.  He or she will be in the same grade as my brother's baby, and almost exactly two years younger than Emery on Kelly's side, which is pretty awesome.

One of the Christmas dinners we enjoyed


The other thing I wanted to write about was visiting the National Aquarium.  They have a deal on Fridays after 5PM during the non-touristy season, and Kel and I have been a few times already since we've lived here, so we went couple weeks ago and just wandered for about two hours and had a really fun time together.  I was a little bummed this time that they changed part of the exhibit and almost all the stingrays were gone.  They used to have a huge shallow pool with some smaller sharks and a bunch of stingrays.  I love watching stingrays swim around.  They're so cool.  And if you're lucky enough to see their tummies they have cute little smiles.
Not the best picture, but see its little smile?
But the new exhibit was cool too, just not AS cool.  And it was our first real outing since I got pregnant, because I spent a couple months basically sleeping and feeling sick.  Kelly even managed to have a "Kelly Moment" by staring at something and nudging a person he thought was me standing next to him about seven times before finally looking over to see why I wasn't responding, only to realize it was a guy.  With blue hair.  And a nose ring.  Now that I think of it, I maybe should be offended he thought that was me.  Right after that the actual me came up to him as he was explaining his mistake to blue-hair-guy, and then as he was blushing and telling me what happened we heard "Kelly!" and turned around and there was a couple from church sitting there, probably witnessed the whole thing, so we had an awkward conversation with Kelly blushing and stammering and me trying not to laugh.  But we did manage to invite them to our house for dinner that Sunday.  When we were chatting with them at our house it turned out they didn't notice anything, but got a good laugh from the story.

Jellyfishing! Jellyfishing! Jellyfishing!
Some stingrays and a shark takin' a nap

Oh, I was tempted.

Sea urchin and some fishies

The rather large eel who looked rather like the Grinch.  He totally smiled for this picture, though.

Aquarium selfie!

Other than that, basically the only thing going on is I'm pregnant!  This one feels so different than the last one.  I feel guilty about that.  The first time I found out I was pregnant I immediately was so excited and in love with our baby and started planning our future.  This time around I feel like something inside of me won't quite accept that it's real.  I remember having the exact same detached feeling the day Kelly got home from his mission, and the day we got married.  Both times I thought I would be jumping-around-crazy-excited because the best thing ever was about to happen, but what actually happened was I just calmly got ready and couldn't quite believe it was actually happening.  Okay, on my wedding day I did having a screaming freak-out at my hair, so "calm" isn't the right word there, but I wasn't feeling like I was about to get married, either.  With this pregnancy I keep having to remind myself that after trying for a year, it's finally happened.

I also wasn't sick at all with the last one before I lost the baby, but this time I had morning (more like 24-hour) sickness pretty bad since about week 6 and it was barely easing off when we went home for Christmas around 14 weeks along.  I tried to remember to be grateful, since they say that's a good sign.  I think Kelly did too, but he was pretty sad about missing his wife for two months.  He takes very good care of me, though.  I lost a lot of weight the first trimester because of my morning-sickness-induced anorexia/bulimia.  My appetite is starting to come back now and I have a little, yet obvious, baby belly now, but I'm still not up to my pre-pregnancy weight.  It works, though, because most of my normal clothes still fit.  It's awesome, because I decided I really hate shopping for maternity clothes, so I can put that off a little longer.

Li'l baby bump. Kelly and I agree it looks bigger in real life.  As an aside, I really can't figure out what to do with my hands in these pictures.

I am super paranoid about losing this baby still.  I thought once I passed the point where I lost the first one I would start connecting better and feeling safer, then I thought maybe once I got past the first trimester, and now I'm hoping when I find out if it's a boy or girl or feel it moving.  In the last week or so I have been connecting more to Baby T and starting to plan on actually having a real baby come June, so that's been really nice and feeling pretty good.  I still have a ways to go, but at least I know it's starting to feel real.  I think that's why I've been feeling really bad about not documenting anything about being pregnant this time.  Last year when I was pregnant I wrote a bunch of posts that I never published, but at least I have them for the memories. 

Another weird thing about this pregnancy that I wasn't expecting was feeling some strange form of survivor's guilt.  I spent a year grieving for my baby and trying and failing to conceive and feeling jealous of others' pregnancies and babies, and forming a sort of unspoken (and maybe unshared?) camaraderie with other women struggling with infant loss and/or infertility (even though I officially missed the label of infertility by a matter of weeks).  Now that I have exactly what I wanted, I'm hyper-aware of the fact that my own pregnancy could be causing others those same feelings of pain and jealousy that I so recently struggled with.  I haven't announced that I'm pregnant in Relief Society's "good news minute" or posted a ton of Facebook statuses or really talked much about it to people other than family.  And my students.  My students are VERY interested in everything about me being pregnant.  I guess I'll continue that story in a minute.  But really, this is the first public talk-about-being-pregnant thing that I've done.  And I'm doing it more to record the memories, and so my family at home can see a picture of my burgeoning baby bump since they're not here to share it with me.  I really hope that I don't hurt the feelings of my friends who are in the middle of their own struggles with baby loss or trying to conceive, especially those whose fight with this has been way longer than mine.  Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers everyday.

Back to my students to end this on a happier note.  I ended up telling my students pretty early on that I was pregnant.  Like 6 weeks along.  First, I was really paranoid about losing the baby and needed to take it easier than I usually do, so I did a lot less running around and getting pens and paper for every Tyron, Darius, and Hakeem, and a lot more sitting down and telling them to get their own dang pen.  Second, I had a minor freak out when a couple students tried to bring a chicken box into my room (for those of you who aren't from Baltimore, that's fried chicken and french fries, often eaten with sriracha sauce on top, as in this case), so they knew something was up.  Finally, when I was 6 weeks pregnant I was teaching fourth period and suddenly ran to the trashcan and barfed (fortunately I made it).  Obviously my students weren't going to let that slide and I let the cat out of the bag.  It spread like wildfire.  So the whole school knew Ms. A was having a baby pretty darn quick.  I was just glad I told my principal as soon as I knew I was pregnant because of my paranoid need to take it easy, so she heard it from me and not through the grapevine.  My students have been surprisingly sweet to me, and instead of asking me to come help, they tell me to stay in my seat and they come to me.  They are also pretty good at remembering my sense of smell is crazy and eat their chicken boxes, ramen noodles, Doritos, and other vomit-inducing things before coming into my classroom.  Students also tell each other off for being annoying or disruptive because "she's pregnant!"  The weirdest thing is so many of my girls have had babies, or are currently pregnant, so they like to chat with me about pregnancy symptoms and living with babies.  Most of my students also debate about if it's a boy or girl, citing very official sources like how I'm carrying, the severity of my morning sickness, and trying to put their hand on my tummy and feel the vibes or something.  I try to avoid the last one as much as I can, but people can be pretty handsy when it comes to a baby bump, and many of my students have a seriously lacking sense of personal space as it is.  I think they are almost as excited as me, Kelly and our moms are to find out the gender ON THURSDAY!!!!!  (After we get the news to everyone in our families, I'll post it here, I promise.)  Anyway, the sweetest thing my students do is just check in everyday.  Some of them aren't even in any of my classes currently.  They just stick their heads in during passing periods and ask "How's the baby?"  It's been really nice so far to be able to answer "Good!"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Patience

Patience must be something I have to learn.  I've never been a very patient person, but I've found that the things I've had to wait for are the things that are most important to me.  Kelly and I were very lucky to meet pretty early (no patience needed there), but unlike many of my friends and peers from Utah who meet and marry within a year, Kelly and I had to wait over four years before we had the opportunity to get married, and a lot of that time was spent apart, either because we attended different universities located 300 miles apart, or because of his mission to Uruguay.  We both knew for pretty much the entire four years we were going to get married, and sometimes having patience was very difficult.  The good thing about this is I think Kelly and I really, truly value our marriage.  Neither of us wonder if we did the right thing, or chose too soon, or rushed into things.  We're honestly just very very grateful to finally be together.  We do errands and chores together, help each other out with everything, and basically really hate being apart.  I'm not saying our marriage is perfect.  Of course we disagree sometimes, and I snap at him over stupid things, and I tease him way, way, way too much, but we love each other.  We are always there for each other, and the fact that we are sealed together for eternity is one of the things we are most grateful for.

Another thing that we've had to wait for is being with our family.  Kelly and I both love our families very much, but two days after we got married we moved across the country for work.  This has been a blessing in our lives because we get so much time together and rely completely on one another, but it has also been difficult being so far from home and our families.  We have now lived here for nearly five years, and while we have come to love Baltimore (well, most things about it), we miss our families a lot and hope to be able to move back to Utah soon.  Or maybe get everyone to move out here.  Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.  Because we've been apart, though, we really appreciate our families and their love and support, and because we miss so many big events like the births of our three nephews, most holidays, baby blessings, and birthdays, we are grateful for the ones we do get to be around for like Christmas and weddings, and we work hard to be able to visit home to be with family when we can. I feel like because we've been apart and had to wait to be together we have realized how very important our families are to us.

As many of you know, the third thing we have had to have a lot of patience about is starting our own family.  After being married for about two years, I started wanting to have a baby.  There were many many reasons which I really don't want to go into here, but we decided to wait.  It was annoying and sad at times, but we knew it was for the best.  When we finally felt the time was right it was very exciting and fun wondering if I was pregnant and imagining how our lives would change.  We were both ready to expand our family and bring more love and meaning to our lives.  We were quite lucky and it didn't take too long to get pregnant, but if you read my last post you'll know that I miscarried.  It was so heartbreaking to have all those hopes and dreams handed to us and then snatched away so quickly.  As soon as we got the okay from the doctor we began trying again, but month after month I'd get my hopes up only to be disappointed.  All the while I was counting down how far along I would have been with the baby I had lost, seeing pregnancy announcements from friends on Facebook, and watching women at church who I had been pregnant with start having their babies, and aching for one of my own.  Patience would be a good thing to have, but unfortunately I haven't learned it well enough and need to have it forced on me.  After I passed my baby's due date, I felt like maybe I could finally begin to heal and things began getting a little better.  I know that because of the miscarriage and the subsequent difficulties with conceiving I have become a softer person, and definitely more aware of the heartache of others.  I have a dear friend who had two miscarriages that I know of, and still no news of a baby, and I hurt for her everyday.  As the months passed I realize more and more that just like waiting both to marry Kelly and live closer to family has made me more grateful for them, the most important things in my life, when I finally have a baby I will be so much more grateful for that child than I would have been without the wait.

One year to the day from miscarrying our baby, we found out we are expecting again.  It's been very scary, but we are also so grateful for the blessing.  Fortunately, none of the complications of the last pregnancy have been present, and now that I have passed the first trimester and things are looking very positive so far, we are overjoyed to announce that we should finally be having a baby of our very own in June 2014.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I meant to post this yesterday, but of course I was slow.

Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I never thought I would be on this end of things, wanting people to know that pregnancy loss happens more than you might think.  I also want to send love and support to any mothers and families out there who have lost a baby, or babies.  I know that October 15th and Awareness month is about infant loss in all ways, not just miscarriage, but since I've only experienced miscarriage, it's what I will be addressing.  I miscarried a year ago this week.  I went to the ER and found that my baby's heart was no longer beating on October 15, 2012.  The reason I wanted to write this is because a lot of women have lost a baby to miscarriage, and for some reason it often turns into a taboo subject.  I was surprised by how many women came out of the woodwork and told me about their own miscarriage, or in some cases multiple miscarriages, after finding out I lost my baby, and I never even knew.  Even if women do talk about their pregnancy loss it is often not recognized as the death of a child.  My hopes and future and plans were pinned to that baby.  It was ripped away from me when I lost my pregnancy, and I never even got to hold my baby, or find out the gender or give him or her a name.  A lot of people didn't know what to say to me or how to act.  Many said insensitive and even hurtful things on accident or in ignorance.  Things like, "what did you do?"  "When are you going to have kids?  You guys have been married for awhile, now!"  Or on Mother's Day, when an innocent 10-year-old asked for my Mother's Day chocolate bar that my church gives all women 18 years and older, because "it's not like you're a mom."  Without the extra sensitivity to others' unintentional comments, I still felt a lot of ridiculous feelings that I knew were ridiculous, but I still felt them.  I felt extreme guilt.  What had I accidentally done to kill my child?  I took a hot bath before I knew I was pregnant!  You're not supposed to get too hot!  Maybe I damaged some chromosomes or something?  It was ridiculous, because I followed all the pregnancy rules; it was just one of those things.  I felt like I let my family down.  Women have babies all the time.  It's one of those big things we're made to do, and I couldn't do it.  I told my parents I was pregnant and it was going to be their first grandchild and I couldn't follow through.  I knew even as I was feeling these things that I was being stupid.  My whole family was loving and supportive and sad for my loss, not judging me on failing to carry my baby to term, but I still felt that way.  Not to mention the extreme jealousy and even dislike of women who were still pregnant or who had babies.  I tried not to, but it hurt so much.   I remember seeing little twin boys sitting in a grocery cart and bursting into tears, while my sweet husband tried to guide me away.

The reason I share all this is not for pity, but because it needs to be recognized that women who miscarry have lost their child.  The moment she finds out she's pregnant her life is different.  When all those plans and dreams crash around her, it is one of the most awful moments of her life.  And if women want to talk about it, they should be able to without people cringing on the inside.   The best thing you can do if you know someone who'd lost a baby is just recognize it as true loss.  Ask them how they're doing and if you can do anything to help them out.  A few people sent Kelly and me cards, and one sweet woman brought me flowers.  Another asked me if I wanted to go get lunch; I didn't feel up to it, but just her reaching out to me meant so much.  My family was loving and supportive, and Kelly babied me for months because I felt so terrible physically for weeks, and emotionally until well after the due date.  Please don't brush it under the rug, because a mother (or father) who has lost a baby will never, ever forget.

For women or anyone else dealing with loss from a miscarriage, I found a couple sites helpful when I was in the thick of it:

http://www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz/index.html

http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2013/10/baby-born-into-heaven-via-miscarriage-or-stillbirth.html

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Labor Day Weekend: I made a baby mobile!

School started.  It is fine.  I like my students.  I think I'm a bad teacher.  Labor Day weekend was very much needed after the longest first week of school ever.  Anyway, I've made no secret about wanting to have a baby, and my brother and his wife's baby was due September 1, and Labor Day has a birth-kind-of-word in it, and it was that time of the month that I was hoping I might be pregnant so over Labor Day weekend I made a mobile.
Ta da!
FYI, I'm not pregnant, and my nephew was born a few days later than his due date, and he is oh-so-cute from the pictures I've seen.  Being an aunt from 2500 miles away is not much fun, though.  Neither is finding out my nephew's name from FACEBOOK!  *cough* Kevin you kinda suck a little *cough* (Kevin is my brother who failed to tell me the name of my own nephew.  Of course my sister-in-law cannot be blamed for this oversight since she had just given birth and had better things to do...unless she specifically took time from cuddling her baby to force Kevin not to tell me so they could maniacally laugh together, in which case that was mean...but that's very unlikely.  She's not evil, you know.)

Anyway, some of my few readers may recall a certain bedroom I furnished in orange, white and grey.

I knew I wanted a mobile above the crib, you know, when we get one.  And my sister even gave me an old picture-hanging thing from her old room that could work as the hanging apparatus of said mobile, but I didn't know what to put on it.  Definitely not one of those chinzy pastel things you see with cartoony bugs and veggietales and nonsense like that.

This one is particularly classy-looking.  (In case you love it, it's from Target, also, sorry for calling it classy in a sarcastic caption.)
If I'm going to have a mobile, I wanted something either abstract like this (except putting glass over a baby's bed is not such a good idea.  I'm not stupid.)
Image from here.  Before you click you should know it's a lingerie store's website, but it does have a post on how to make this.  And don't judge me, I found it on Pinterest.

or something that actually belongs flying in the air, like planes, birds, or butterflies.  Also, I didn't want to stray from our orange/white/black/grey thing.  As you can see, my options were quite limited, especially because this room is gender-neutral, since, you know, we don't actually have a baby (or even one in the making) yet.  Planes scream BOY; butterflies scream GIRL; birds scream SCARY! (In case you don't know me, birds were never an option because I'm scared of them.)  Pandas fit the color scheme, but why would pandas be flying?  Also, why would I pick pandas?  Polar bears, zebras, cows and tigers were more of the same story: all fit the color scheme, but none of them fly, and I am not particularly in love with any of them, so I was still stuck.  But who cares?  I don't need a mobile.  I don't have a baby.  The end.


Then I saw this on Pinterest:
Pinterest linked me to this Etsy page
Sheep!  Sheep are black and white, so color scheme: check!

Sheep don't fly, BUT are commonly portrayed as jumping over beds being counted by sleepless people, so the flying thing: narrowly-on-a-technicality, check!
I'm not really obsessed with sheep either, but these ones are cute, so... okay!

However, there is no way I'm spending $80 on five tiny cutie sheep tied to a needlepoint frame.  Okay, a bare wicker wreath, whatever.  But I decided I could make something similar myself.  Even though I don't sew, I have a can-do attitude when it comes to saving mah moolah.  I'm crafty, right? I'm creative, right?  I have a slight artistic flair, right?  I'm stubborn and do what I want, right?  Given all my self-professed credentials, I thought I'd give 'er the old college try.

So I skipped along to Joann's and bought a yard of fuzzy baby blanket white stuff, and half a yard of black rib-knit cotton (overkill by the way, but I never professed to have done the math beforehand.  Because I didn't.)  It only cost me about $6.

I even took a picture of all the materials you need.  I'm so good I should start a blog!...wait...


Materials needed for sheep: White fuzzy fabric appropriate for fluffy lambs, black fabric, black thread, white thread, eye-colored embroidery floss (I made each of my sheep have different colored eyes which is why I have a bunch of colors), sewing needle, scissors, pins, batting, and some paper for a pattern.  And if you want to make a mobile, you'll have to figure that part out yourself.

I started by making a pattern:
Pattern for sheep face, sheep leg, and sheep body
I also needed ears and a tail, but I freestyled those with each sheep, because what can I say? I'm a rebel like that.




I actually cut out the face and legs with the fabric folded in half, therefore the pattern stayed folded in half, but it reminded me where to line up the folded fabric.

The little nubbin is the tail, the long thing at the bottom are the ears, at least the way I did them for most of the sheep.

After I had everything cut out I pinned the legs and the face with the ears where I wanted them, like so:

See how the ears are pinned inside the face?
In case you're bad at sewing like I am, remember to pin it inside-out. Then I just stitched around the outside of the legs and the face, careful to keep my ears where I wanted them.  I chose to do all my stitching by hand instead of using my sewing machine, because the pieces are so tiny, and I didn't feel like it was worth doing battle with my sewing machine over something I could do by hand more easily anyway.



Then I turned them right-side-out.  I found that using my scissors to push the little legs through worked well.

I had to put the batting in the legs at this point, but not the head yet.  Scissors worked well for that too.

I used leftover batting from when I upholstered the headboard, so it's blanket batting, not the clumps of stuff someone might usually use for plush toys, but it worked fine for me.

I set the legs aside and went back to my sheep's face.  After making a couple sheep, I realized that sewing the eyes before I put the batting in and sewed it to the body worked best.  I should have realized that from the beginning; I'm dumb, I know.  Anyway, I used embroidery floss for the eyes, and just made a few stitches for each one.  This sheep had brown eyes, but others had different shades of blue, green and hazel.
In this pictures you can see how his little ears were attached.

Looks messy on the inside...
Cute little eyes on the outside, and aren't those floppy ears adorable?
 After getting his li'l face and legs put together I had to stitch him all together. So I laid it out like this
I pinned the ears out of the way so they wouldn't accidentally get sewed to the body
I pinned the legs and tail to both sides, just pinched in the middle of the seam, but the head was pinned so it opened into the body.  Did that make sense?  Here are some pictures:
The legs and tail only have one pin, because it goes through both layers of white and the leg/tail.
The head had two pins, one for each side of white, so it won't be flattened when I turn it right-side-out.
Hopefully that cleared up what I don't know how to explain with words.  Also, just in case this post seems crazy, just know I am on cold medicine while I'm writing this.  The last time I took any type of medication was over a year ago.  I've been off all forms of medication, as well as sushi, caffeine and a bunch of other things since we've been trying to get pregnant.  But this weekend I have the king of colds and I know I'm not pregnant so I caved, and I feel a little weird, so I'll have to proof read this next week to make sure it's not too off the wall.  I've already caught a ton of weird typos, I can't imagine how many I've missed in my drug-induced state.  Back to the topic: sheep.

I stitched around the head

and then started at the tail and stitched to in front of the front leg, leaving the chest area open.


I used that to turn the sheep right-side-out, and then to stuff it.


Because I was using blanket batting, I cut it into squares and folded them to make it kinda lumpy.  Sheep just seem like they should be lumpy to me.  I don't know why.  I also used my scraps to stuff my sheep, so it cut down on waste, and sometimes white batting shows through stretch fabric, like I was using for the head, so the black scraps in there kept that from happening.






Then I just stitched him up!


The first sheep I did took a couple hours, but after that I could whip one up in about half an hour, so I would put on a Doc Martin on Netflix and make a sheep.  I made 2-4 a day and it wasn't bad.  In total, I made 10 sheep, because that's how many clips there were on the mobile thing I got from my sister.

Right now it looks like a quite a flock; it looks just like the real thing, see?

But I think it might be a good idea to switch it up by removing the clips and stitching them onto the little rings so it looks cuter, and then stagger them at different heights so they aren't so clumped together. I don't know. I've got time; it's not like I have sleepless baby desperately waiting to count sheep at this point.  It's not even hanging anywhere.  It's just clipped to a hanger in the closet.  Well, there's my mobile for now. Hooray!  Sheep!
Maaaaaaa!


Thanks to Littledale Farm for the real blackface sheep photos